Whoever said luxury and eco-consciousness had to be mutually exclusive clearly never had the opportunity to encounter the extraordinary hospitality of the modern 'green hotel'. In this day and age, taking a green break no longer means sacrificing the comforts you have come to expect while on holiday. Influencers in the hospitality industry are beginning to prove their commitment to long-term environmental programs by focusing their resources on sustainability, accountability and social responsibility.
From skiing in the Swiss Alps to foraging in the Swedish wilderness, from enjoying locally sourced English breakfasts to family-friendly activities in the Austrian mountains, these hotels prove how far the eco-culture has progressed, striving to incorporate style into sustainability and to bring sexy back to sensibility.
1. The Green House
4 Grove Rd
Bournemouth BH1 3AX
Perched on Southern England’s coastal resort town of Bournemouth, The Green House is truly well deserving of its name. Known affectionately as the “greenest hotel in the UK”, this charming hotel boldly takes the lead in bringing the classic English country style into the 21st century. Governed by a list of core eco principles including the insistence of sourcing locally; reducing, reusing and recycling; awareness of consumption; high welfare standards; and transparency with eco practices, The Green House gladly sets the benchmark in maintaining social and environmental responsibility.
Visitors can expect a high level of attention to detail throughout the hotel, from the naturally chemical free fire-retardant carpets made from 100 percent luxurious sheep’s wool, to wallpaper and paint produced from natural ingredients. The daily practice of using all energy and water resources efficiently also means that immense consideration was paid to ensure that the right appliances were selected. From the bathroom lighting to the taps and showerheads, no detail has been left to chance. The Green House also employs solar thermal panels with on-site combined heat and power units to generate energy for the hotel.
With an accompanying variety of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, sailing and surfing, The Green House embodies the classic English coastal experience with a modern twist.
2. Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel
Case postale 681
1871 Les Giettes
Well positioned in the Swiss Alps at almost 4,600 feet above sea level, and a winner of the “Responsible Tourism Award for Innovation” award, Whitepod offers the highly exclusive and unique experience of living in visually magnetizing high-technology “pods” set in a winter wonderland.
Luxuriously designed, all 15 pods are equipped with traditional furnishings wrapped in high-quality insulation with a strong emphasis on low electricity and water consumption, as well as the insistence to use renewable resources.
In additional to their luxurious spa treatment options including a Finnish sauna and a Japanese bath, the year long activities of hiking, dog carting and paragliding complemented by winter activities like skiing and dog sledging makes Whitepod a favourite among ecotourists all throughout the year.
3. Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda
Via Angelo Feltrinelli
136, 25084 Gargnano BS
Located in Brescia, Italy, Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda will literally leave travellers at a loss for words, silencing even the most seasoned of tourists. Since opening its doors in 2008, the resort has consistently been awarded accolades for being one of the best luxury hotels in the world. At the recent 2016 World Spa & Wellness Awards, Lefay was crowned as the winner in the newly created category of Worldwide Health & Wellness Destination, as a tribute to honour the best wellness hotels in the world.
Strategically tucked away on a hillside, and intentionally integrated into the village’s hill slopes to reduce energy and heat diffusion, Lefay bestows a breathtaking view of the Riviera dei Limoni at every turn and is often the destination of choice for world-weary travellers in search of space, nature, time and peace. Embodying the healing qualities which nature can bring, the hotel focuses on overall well being, a theme consistently reflected in every aspect that the hotel has to offer, including basic practices like the installation of water-saving devices and chemical free textiles for every guest.
Undoubtedly one of the most well-respected leaders in the Italian and international eco-industry, Lefay leads by example through deep commitments to a series of practices which has effectively cut its carbon by an impressive 1130 tons a year. Attentively managed by the owners and founders, the Leali family continuously achieves their goals of encouraging environmental mindfulness and wellbeing, all set within the most discerning standards of luxury.
SE 599 91 Ödeshög
UrNatur began its journey in 2007, created with the intention of providing visitors with a space for relaxation and reflection, where the weary could gather and recharge, strengthened by the healing powers of nature.
Fostered by a deep-rooted connection to nature, Swedes have long been keenly aware of, and concerned with, environmental issues. Rustic and charming in equal parts, UrNatur is the ultimate ecolodge within the woods, allowing the uniquely Swedish experience to take visitors back to a time when innocence and nature were one. From staying in tree houses to foraging for leaves to make your own cup of tea, the accommodations are also heated either by solar powered energy or generated by wood collected from storm-fallen trees.
Located in the forests of Holaved, travellers relish in the 3-hour drive from Stockholm. The journey to UrNatur begins before you arrive at the destination before you even begin to enjoy the saunas and wood-heated bathtub. It begins with the anticipation of truly being one with nature again, a place for true solidarity with the environment. Living in such close proximity to nature, surrounded by colours and scents which reflect the season, UrNatur undoubtedly presents one of the most authentic eco-experiences that money can buy.
5. Hotel Stern
Karin und Michael Gstrein
Oberlängenfeld Nr. 1
6444 Längenfeld, Ötztal
Traveling with children doesn’t mean the need to sacrifice luxurious trimmings. Proudly owned by the Föger family for 5 generations, Hotel Stern in Obsteig am Sonnenplateau, a tiny village in Austria, is one of the little treasures of the Austrian countryside. Offering eco options for the whole family, guests can expect to enjoy being surrounded by picturesque snow-capped mountains in winter and lush greenery during the warmer seasons.
Throughout the hotel, Hotel Stern takes unprecedented care to ensure that the daily decisions of the management reflect their goals to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. Climate-conscious menus are based on and inspired by, seasonal local produce and a stay at the resort is astoundingly considered climate neutral – The hotel compensates the small amount of CO2 produced by each guest by taking it into account in the planning of programs and green initiatives.
A variety of outdoor pursuits include hiking, horse-riding, snowmobile tours and mountain biking for the adults, while plenty of nature-focused activities are programmed just for the children. From daily pony rides to dedicated art & craft activities, or scaling the outdoor adventure playground and even indulging in the hotel’s very own petting zoo, children will certainly enjoy every moment in this hotel.